John Bolton will assume the role of US National Security Adviser today, a position that gives him the ability to control and access national security information going to President Trump.
Mr Bolton, who has served in the Reagan and both Bush administrations, is often described as hawkish. While an advocate for nuclear nonproliferation, Bolton disdains the United Nations, and international law more generally, and was a fierce supporter of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
His appointment will have important implications for US foreign policy, particularly regarding Iran. Bolton has been a vocal critic of the Iran nuclear deal, which he described last month as “putting lipstick on a pig”. After arguing that a military strike is the only means of stopping Iran from nuclearising, the deal is in serious jeopardy.
Indeed, the US could abandon the deal and have crippling sanctions reimposed on Iran as soon as May 12, Donald Trump’s deadline for amending the 2015 agreement. If such an outcome occurs, military conflict between the US and Iran could be a very real possibility.
Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.